Rishi Sunak said the government’s response to the cost of living crisis would “evolve” as the situation unfolds – but did not outline any immediate action.
Addressing the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in London, the chancellor admitted once again that “the next few months will be difficult” and that ministers “stand ready to do more”.
But he failed to acknowledge Labor’s calls for an emergency budget with immediate new measures to help drive up household costs.
Mr Sunak called on businesses to “invest, train and innovate more” to help boost productivity and improve the UK’s long-term prosperity.
Politics Hub: Prime Minister promises to look at ‘all measures’ to help people through cost of living crisis
“The country will not become rich and prosperous just because of the things I do,” he said at the CBI’s annual dinner.
“Change is not happening behind a desk in Whitehall. Not even the Chancellor’s desk. It’s coming from all of you.”
Mr Sunak continued: “Our role in government is to help reduce costs for families. I can’t pretend it will be easy.
“As I said yesterday in the House of Commons: there is no action any government can take, no law we can pass, that can make these global forces disappear overnight.
“The next few months will be difficult. But where we can act, we will.”
Acknowledging that tackling high inflation is “a social and moral necessity”, Sunak warned that “at a time of severe supply restraints, unconstrained fiscal stimulus risks compounding the problem by making raise prices again.”
“I have always been clear, we are ready to do more. At the same time, we have to be careful,” he said.
The Chancellor continued: “So even as we shield people from the worst of the crisis, we must continue to be responsible for public finances and sustainably control borrowing and reduce debt.”
Mr Sunak also reiterated his promise in the spring statement earlier this year that the government will cut tax rates on business investment in the fall.
“In other words, further government action can only get us so far. We need you. Wealth creators. Entrepreneurs. Leaders,” he said.
“We need you to invest more, train more and innovate more.
“And as I said before, our firm plan is to reduce and reform your taxes to encourage you to do all of these things.
“It is the path to higher productivity, a higher standard of living, and a more prosperous and secure future.”
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Attorney General Suella Braverman later told Sky News’ The Take with Sophy Ridge she was “happy to hear” the Chancellor say tax cuts were coming.
“I can’t give you timelines for announcements,” she said.
union leader Mr Keir Starmer claimed the government was “out of ideas” as the country headed for a “stagflation crisis”.
To Wednesday PMQsSir Keir has accused Boris Johnson of dithering on more help for struggling households as inflation hits a four-decade high.
Labor leader, who is calling for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies to help consumers hit by soaring energy bills, says the PM ‘doesn’t really understand what working families are going through’ .
He suggested that the government will eventually waive windfall taxes and that every day it delays doing so, it chooses “to let people struggle when they don’t need to”.
The Prime Minister hit back by saying Labour’s plans were ‘always and everywhere to raise corporate taxes’.
But he added: “Of course we will look at all the steps we need to take to get people over to the other side, but the only reason we can do that is because we’ve made the tough decisions that were necessary. during the pandemic.”
Households are currently facing rising energy bills, inflation is expected to hit 10%, and benefits and wages are not keeping up with rising prices.
Meanwhile, more than four in five people are worried about the rising cost of living in the coming months, according to the Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Sky News.
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